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The Meaning and Importance of Colour Conventions

With all marketing and public interaction, colour plays a much larger role than people initially think. Often with SMEs, sole traders and other small organisations, the branding colours are often initially selected based on a competitor’s branding design or simply by what the decision maker thinks ‘looks nice’. In some cases, this has proven to be remarkably successful – a clear and recognisable device in the logo is often a factor. However, there are some other cases which demonstrate a major oversight in colour selection. When I’ve been looking at a client’s branding and logo design in the past, a key factor of the work is to advise on the meaning of colour and take a detailed look at how that fits into their industry and discipline. Here are some of the key meanings to different colours:

BLUE: The colour blue in branding is often associated with trust and gives a sense of security. This is why most UK banks use blue in their logo.

RED: Red is a colour that is full of energy. It is immediately noticeable, creates a sense of urgency and increases a person’s heart rate when it is seen. It also creates a sense of danger. It is often used in retail to represent a discount sale.

YELLOW: Youthful and full of optimism, yellow is a colour that is often used to grab the attention of window shoppers.

GREEN: The colour green is often associated with wealth and it is the easiest colour for the eyes to process. Green is a very relaxing colour and gives people the opportunity to browse at their convenience. It also has earthy connotations and is often linked to nature and natural products.

PINK: Pink is both romantic and feminine and is often used to market products aimed at women and younger girls.

PURPLE: This soothing colour is often used in advertising – it is a calming colour. It is often seen in beauty and health products and is frequently used in anti-aging niches.

BLACK: Black is a powerful and bold colour. It is used to market luxury products and bespoke, high-end services. Black is often associated with ‘the best’.

ORANGE: Orange is quite an aggressive colour. It is often used in a call-to-action, such as ‘buy now’. Orange is also associated with budget and cheaper items.

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